It's rare for a football game to be decided on a single play, but a match up between the Griggs/Barnes County and the Maple Valley/Enderlin Falcons is not an everyday occurrence.
An incomplete pass by the Titans sealed an 18-13 victory for MV/E in the season-opening non-regional contest on Friday in Tower City.
After the unsuccessful throw on fourth down and 11 yards from the goal line, the Falcons took a knee to run out the final 66 seconds of the game.
The Falcons are coming off a season in which they upset their way into state semi-finals. The Titans' only win last year came from in-region rival Valley City.
GBC coach Davy Zinke was pleased overall with his team's play, especially in the second half.
"We've always lost our third and fourth quarter, instead we lost our first and second," Zinke said. "We came back and won our third and fourth quarter."
The Titans were down 12-0 in the first half after MVE junior running back Thomas Lindgren put the first points on the board with 1:35 left in the first quarter. Falcons quarterback Jordan Haseleu scrambled across the goal line with 29 second left in the half to seal the lead.
After the Titans received the kick to open the second half, Lindgren, at linebacker, picked off an interception to for a 46-yard touchdown run.
"We just had too many mistakes. We can't put the ball in the ground; we can't throw interceptions, we can't do that," Zinke said.
The Titans bounced back with a 60-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Tim Erker to senior wide receiver Jacoby Kramlich, and running back Wyatt Steckler kicked the extra point to narrow the gap to 18-7.
On the Falcon's following drive, GBC defensive linemen Derek Eberle, Trevor Anderson and Ezra Grotberg contributed to a quarterback sack that force MVE to punt. The punt, wobbly and into the wind, placed the Titans in scoring distance for a 10-yard touchdown run by junior running back Wyatt Steckler. In the fourth quarter, Steckler would lead a drive from the Titan's own 6-yard line to a fourth-and-goal situation at the Falcon's 11-yard line.
"I thought Wyatt Steckler ran the ball just like an animal," Zinke said.
EMV coach Brett Kapaun said the Titans' middle screen played a major role in the second half, but credits the Titan's scoring capability to poor tackling on his defense's part.
"That's our biggest issue, we were in position but we're grabbing and not tackling," Kapaun said. "We gave them two quick scores and maintained some ball control, and our defense came up big. I'm pretty proud of them."